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Being grateful

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year and winter has officially started.

Most people are getting ready for the holidays, which can be a bit stressful. They might be buying presents for Christmas and New Year, fretting about what to cook, dreading sitting through yet another family dinner… Some will already be making a list of everything they want to achieve in 2015. How about you?

Just this once, I would like you to look back on 2014 and focus on everything you are grateful for: new friends you got to know or old ones that were there for you when you needed them, a wonderful trip, a job you love…

Sometimes we forget this, especially the small moments… And that is a shame. Because being grateful makes you a happier person. So… here’s a little practice you might want to try out: every night, before going to bed, think about 3 things you are grateful for. Take it seriously… don’t ‘automatically’ choose every day the same 3 (like: I’m grateful I’m healthy, I’m grateful for my family and I am grateful I have a job). Find 3 things you really ‘felt’ grateful for during that particular day. So… it is possible that ‘I’m grateful I’m healthy’ IS on your list, when you went to visit somebody in hospital, for instance. I am only saying it shouldn’t be your standard answer… I repeat, it can be very small things: I am grateful for the tip I got from my colleague: it’s going to make my life so much easier. Or… I’m grateful for that particular friend for taking the time to listen to me today. Or… when I was walking in the park this afternoon and saw that beautiful sunset, I felt really grateful. Try it out and you might even sleep better at night…

Jar_for_web

And for those who are visual and/or like an arts and crafts project: why not make a gratitude (or blessing) jar. You can take any jar, embellish it if you want by putting a nice ribbon on it, or painting it or… And then, whenever you feel particularly grateful for something, you write it on a little piece of paper, you fold it and you put it in the jar. Over the year you keep on filling the jar. And then there are different options. Whenever you feel particularly down, you open the jar and read some of the messages you put in. Notice what happens. Another option is to wait until the end of the year, go through them all at once and… count your blessings. Happy holidays!

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